Showing posts from December, 2015

Bishop Alan Williams: True Discipleship

Listen to Bishop of Brentwood, The Rt Rvd Alan Williams SM reflect on true discipleship in the Year of Mercy. Below are a couple of pictures of the Holy Door at Brentwood Cathedral. Above the door you can see a sign written in Bishop Alan's own hand and recreated in neon. Pope Francis explains the meaning of the Holy Door thus:  "There is only one way that opens wide the entrance into the life of the communion with God: this is Jesus, the one and absolute way to salvation. To him alone can the words of the Psalmist be applied in full truth: "This is the door of the Lord where the just may enter" (Psalm 118:20)"  In a Jubilee Year we are all invited to pass through the Holy Door as a symbolic gesture of leaving the past behind and crossing the threshold from sin to grace, from slavery to freedom, and from darkness to light. The neon art outside the Holy Door has been created by Chris Mitchell of Neon Sign Store. The words are the motto for the

Cardinal Turkson Clarification

Earlier this week it appeared Cardinal Turkson had gone "full Anglican" when he was reported by the BBC as having said that birth control could "offer a solution" to the impacts of climate change  see here . The article states: In a wide-ranging interview with the BBC, Cardinal Turkson suggested that birth control could help alleviate some of the impacts of climate change, particularly the lack of food in a warmer world. "This has been talked about, and the Holy Father on his trip back from the Philippines also invited people to some form of birth control, because the church has never been against birth control and people spacing out births and all of that. So yes, it can offer a solution," he said. This immediately seemed to me to be a comment which was only referring to Natural Family Planning, which was then taken and spun out of all context by the BBC, because, of course, the Church changing its position on artificial birth control is one of

The Jubilee of Mercy

This is the full text from Pope's Homily for Opening of Jubilee of Mercy yesterday: Dear Brothers and Sisters, In a few moments I will have the joy of opening the Holy Door of Mercy. We carry out this act, so simple yet so highly symbolic, in the light of the word of God which we have just heard. That word highlights the primacy of grace. Again and again these readings make us think of the words by which the angel Gabriel told an astonished young girl of the mystery which was about to enfold her: “Hail, full of grace” (Lk 1:28). The Virgin Mary was called to rejoice above all because of what the Lord accomplished in her. God’s grace enfolded her and made her worthy of becoming the Mother of Christ. When Gabriel entered her home, even the most profound and impenetrable of mysteries became for her a cause for joy, faith and abandonment to the message revealed to her. The fullness of grace can transform the human heart and enable it to do something so great as to change the

Was Jesus Born in a Stable?

A friend thought I would be interested in a reflection (or perhaps more accurately, a Biblical exegesis) by Fr. Michael Wood, a Russian Orthodox Priest from Scotland ( see here ). Indeed, I found his perspective powerful, new and enlightening, so much so I felt it was worth sharing here: As we near Christmas, lets look at what the Bible ACTUALLY says: Where, exactly was Jesus born? In a dirty stable behind an inn? Well, no actually, a careful reading of the prophet Micah and the Gospels says otherwise. The shepherds to whom the announcement was made by the angels were not ordinary shepherds. These were employees of the Temple and their sheep were for Temple sacrifice. The sheep pens at Bethlehem were known to be Temple sheepyards. They were walled and had watchtowers because the sheep were prime stock – unblemished – and attractive to steal. The prophet Micah 4:8 states, “And thou, O tower of the flock (Migdal Edar), the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it co

Exploring the Readings at Mass— Second Sunday of Advent (Year C)

Welcome to my reflection on this week's Sunday readings at Mass, where I look at the Scripture we will hear at Mass on Sunday in its historical, social and theological context to see what wisdom can be gleaned. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I sincerely hope that this reflection will inspire you, answer some questions you may have, help you to see how fantastic Sacred Scripture is and perhaps begin to share some of my love and passion for the Bible as you begin to comprehend how layered and multi-faceted, and what a carefully considered part of the Mass the readings are. If you want to know how these posts came about, please read my first post in this series  here . My particular hope is that these blogs will help you develop a love of the Old Testament, and help to foster a better understanding of its value in understanding how Jesus fulfils what is prefigured therein. I would like to think this regular blog would be a great help to anyone who reads at M

The Power & Beauty of Suffering

Following on from yesterday , I was wondering what is missing from Justin Welby's theology that made him doubt, or question God in the way he articulated. I was thinking about redemptive suffering and its unique place in Catholic theology- and its absence from Protestant theology. Of course this is something Jesus Himself told us: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Mt 16:24 The saints would also often say that their greatest desire can be summed up in one phrase; to love and to suffer. Saint Catherine of Sienna: "...every suffering they bear from any source at all, in spirit or in body, is of infinite worth, and so satisfies for the offense that deserved an infinite penalty...[even though]...these are finite deeds in finite time." Servant of God, Fr. John Hardon S.J.: "Love wants to suffer for the Beloved... Love wants to expiate the sins that have so deeply penetrated mankind. Love wants to